Day 60 Tuesday 3 May: Blue sky, bright sunshine, 9°C at 9.00a.m. What does this mean? Apart from at least 10°C at 10.00a.m., this means the first day on the bike without the red winter jacket I’ve had to wear every day since Tighnabruaich or Arran, on the west side. Final thanks to Vic and Billy at Fraserburgh on this fine morning. A very enjoyable, memorable visit. It’s quite humbling to be made so welcome by such fine people.
Still no headwind. No hills of significance, all the way to the first stop at Peterhead, the most easterly point of Scotland. Another big harbour, still quite busy, being the biggest whitefish port in the UK. Having only expected one member of the Peterhead crew to turn up, it was so good to see Andy (cox’n) plus five more curious but very friendly young crew members, namely Ali, David, Andy, Jim and Gordon. Word was obviously out. I suppose they just wanted to see what a mad, middle aged (I know, I flatter myself) man wearing lycra and a Lifeboat vest on a bicycle looks like. Thanks for not staring, nor making rude comments. Having heard how difficult it is for some of the more remote Lifeboat Stations to muster new, young blood, it was great to meet a good number of genuinely enthusiastic lads ‘on board’. They proudly maintain and run the very first of the Tamar class of Lifeboats on the fleet. More compact compared to the Severn but still a great, fast, long range, all-weather boat. Thanks for the welcome break and very useful route advice. You were right, the quiet coastal route was the best option. A little further and quite exposed to what had now become more of a head wind, having turned slightly west of a southerly heading. But worth the extra couple of peaceful miles.
Eventually, the horrors of sharing the road with many fast, huge lorries was unavoidable for about 9 of the 11 last miles along the A90 into Aberdeen. The final stretch along the wide, traffic free Esplanade was a great relief. I had no idea that this major city had such a long beach. And a huge port. Dozens of very large foreign and UK registered vessels, including the Hrossey, one of the two familiar Northlink Ferries boats which sail between here and Lerwick via Kirkwall. The Shetlands and Orkneys now seem such a long way north. That’s because they are. Lerwick is closer to Bergen in Norway than it is to Aberdeen.
Thanks to Bill, the LOM and Calum, the full time mechanic for allowing us (not forgetting Fondo) to make full use of your smart, modern, very well appointed Lifeboat Station. Now a combined All-weather and Inshore station, with a Severn Class and a D Class Lifeboat, Aberdeen has a long and esteemed history of over 200 years of saving lives at sea.
Let’s not forget, that is what the RNLI is. The charity that saves lives at sea. If I manage, with Fondo’s help, to reach my target of £8,000 raised, it might seem a tiny drop in the massive ocean of funds required to run these lifeboats. But many drops combine to top up that big ocean.
Alas, my target of just £1 per mile pedalled is beginning to look a bit too ambitious. As the miles add up and roll by, the pounds are struggling to catch up. So, if you could continue to spread the word and share this with friends, family and colleagues it would be hugely appreciated. Thanks.